Friday, December 30, 2005


Well, I'm home. With my family. I love it. I love having a mom to kiss on, a dad to lay tile and ride bicycles with, a kid sister to love on, cousins, uncles, grandparents, a great-grandma, and two parakeets.

Our Christmas routine has existed since before I existed; Christmas Eve, we eat tamales, made by my great-grandmother (and helpers.) They are delicious, and we make so many that we munch on them well into Febuary. We buy the masa from the same little Mexican market every time, and the spreading of the masa onto the corn husk is a fine art - the kind that takes 30 minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. It's not really that hard, but my great-grandmother's tamales definitely turn out better than mine. We watch movies. We go to Christmas Eve service. We try and wait until midnight to open the presents, but that usually lasts until 9:30, at which point the chitlins tear through their present in 5 minutes and then fall asleep. We eat, drink, and are merry. It is my family time.

This last wednesday, I spent the day snowboarding at Kirkwood with some of my best friends. If my life depended on the ability to go faster than 5 miles/hour on a snowboard, I'd be pushing up daisies. The first half of the day, the precipitation was somewhere between snow and rain, which was whipped up by 30 mile-an-hour winds to scourge my face off. At lunchtime my jacket was soaked totally through, and I had to wring my gloves out. The weather was terrible and I am terrible at snowboarding. I couldn't have imagined a better 24 hours. Well, if Jesus would have come back at the end, that would've been pretty sick. But I feel asleep that night sore, drained, and absolutely content. It was my family time.

I was born into this world as Maxwell Critchfield, and I thank GOD every day for the family with which I was blessed to be born into. But on a snowy day in December 2003, I sat on the side of a bed in a Cabin overlooking Lake Tahoe and joined GOD's family. I'm not just a part of the Critchfield family: I'm a part GOD's family, too. It is by the grace of GOD that I am able to call all who live in the power and presence of the living Jesus my brothers and sisters, and by the atoning work of the Son of GOD that I can call the creator of the universe "Daddy." It is the family of GOD that sustains me, prays with me and for me, mourns with me, rejoices with me, and shows to me the visible community of the invisible GOD. It's the Church of Jesus Christ, and it's my family. Word. Talk to you soon.
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:15-17)

Saturday, December 17, 2005


It is finished. (That's not my line.)

Hopes for break:

1. Spend some time falling in love with Christ.
2. Spend time with people I care about.
3. Finish reading Les Miserables.
4. Finish reading The Cost of Discipleship, The Pursuit of God, and Celebration of Discipline.
5. See King Kong with my dad.
6. Read 5 novels.
7. Read through the Book of James.
8. Make prayer a habit.
9. Sleep in heavenly peace.

I'm all run out, but I ran well. I'm going to spend some time in the fridge; I need it. Catch you on the flipside.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, o night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
Over the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
(O Holy Night, Traditional)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Grade School

This week isn't my finals week, but it might as well be. Here's the agenda:

1. Write term paper for MUS 24c
2. Write term paper for RST 141B
3. Revise and perform final composition for MUS 7A
4. Organize and Present entry for "Visual Dictionary of American Religion" for RST 1
5. Breathe
6. Prepare answers for on-line unit exam for RST 1

For those of you in college, this is normal. It just means that for a week, every waking moment is spent trying to be the best student that I can be. (Not that I don't try for the other 9 weeks, but this week is where it kicks up a notch. BAM!) I'm not busy - my life is just really, really full.

It reminds of 5th grade. And Ms. Lepiesha. Bless her heart - she taught me a lot, but I really detested her. She was very particular about us having our backpacks squarely on the backs of our chairs (to prevent tripping accidents) and that all of our outerwear was hung neatly on the little pegs next to the door. I remember times when she would yell at me for doing something wrong, or pull me out of class to yell at me and tell me to "stop those crocodile tears" as they streamed down my face. She had a severe face and these thick, black-rimmed glasses. She was scary, and I had her for two years in elementary school. Ouch.

One of her punishments of choice was to make me write sentences. It would usually be something like, "I am sorry that I talk so often in class, and I promise to be more courteous to my teacher by speaking only when appropiate," 500 times over (She liked the long ones.) The kicker was that I was only allowed to write the sentences during recess. So as the kids played on the jungle gym, competed in tetherball, and laughed and frollicked in total freedom, I had to sit next to the classroom door, which faced the playground, and write out my sentences, one after the other.

The end of this quarter is so close that I can taste it, but I am trapped here for 4 more days, which feels like 4 years. In between thesis statements, I close my eyes and pretend that I can read any book I want, get 8 hours of sleep every night, not have to wake up to an alarm clock, do nothing but waste time with Jesus - but it is not yet this time.

Back to my work I go, because I know that when I'm done, I'll have done what needed to be done, and done it well. As soon as I finish up these sentences, I'll be running to the playground - hope to see you there. Talk to you soon.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)